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Moving from primary to secondary teaching

(14 Posts)
Mumsymumphy Sun 21-Jul-19 09:09:34

I'm contemplating moving from primary to secondary teaching. I've seen a vacancy for an English teacher starting Jan 2020. English Language and grammar is my specialism. I'd like the challenge of teaching English to a deeper level than I can at primary. I've taught primary for 16 years and realise this could go against me against candidates with an English degree and secondary experience.
What are the realities of teaching English at secondary?

OP’s posts: |
noblegiraffe Sun 21-Jul-19 10:35:22

You’d like the challenge of teaching English to a deeper level but you don’t have an English degree or any experience?

So you’d be great at teaching intervention to secondary kids who struggle with reading etc, but how do you propose coping with teaching GCSE?

ElizabethMainwaring Sun 21-Jul-19 10:41:11

You would definitely need an English BA at least.
I'm primary trained and teach reading and literacy development at secondary, and am part of the English department, but am not expected to teach English as such as I am not trained to do so. I also have an MA in English and related literature, but I am not a 'Teacher of English'.

phlebasconsidered Sun 21-Jul-19 19:13:14

I changed from secondary to primary almost a decade ago. It's harder the other way. I have a degree and a pgce plus an MA. The subject specialism is a big leap up for gcse and A level, at the very least you need to have that. That said, the year 6 sats content is what used to be the old year 9 content way back!

Also, even given the higher rate of SEN and EBD in primary, the behaviour management is without a doubt nicer in primary. Not easier, not at all, but it's nicer. Less teen sex and violence and I certainly feel more able to restrain a year 6 than a year 10.

Pressurefor results is the same. There is no wonderful moment where your class comes over all Dead Poets as they gasp at the wonder of John Donne. And prior to leaving I had 32 A level students in my class, most of whom just stayed on because. Well, because. I moved to primary to get a bit of joy back- that has now also been squeezed out. As i say, that was over a decade ago though. Although my secondary friends don't paint a rosy picture.

mumofpickles Sun 21-Jul-19 19:30:38

You can do an English SKE course to ensure your subject knowledge is of a level required for ks2 and 4 they are excellent and will cover all of the main genres in the exam paper. You can do an 8, 12 or 16 week course there are bursaries availible.

PinkFlowerFairy Sun 21-Jul-19 20:55:20

You absolutely are not going to be able to teach gcse or a level English without a degree in it or closely related.

hashtagthathappened Sun 21-Jul-19 20:57:03

Depends where you are. SE then yes.

Mumsymumphy Sun 21-Jul-19 21:00:57

Thanks for the replies. I specialised in English during my B.Ed (literature, language and linguistics). I did supply work in secondary many moons ago. The English SKE course sounds great - I will look into that, thank you.

OP’s posts: |
WavesManically Sun 21-Jul-19 21:07:55

Hi! I taught primary for 6 years and have an English degree. I much prefer secondary!
However it has been a challenge! Learning the GCSE curriculum to the depth required has been hard work. I found that teaching primary "dumbed" down my vocabulary and knowledge and it has taken me a while to improve again. The first year was ok but tricky.

Any department would probably want to give you the low ability students to start off with, while your confidence improves and you get to grips with it.

I do miss teaching in primary in some ways. I miss the magic of imagination as the GCSE course tends to crush that.

I much prefer the students and work load though so I doubt I will go back.

mumofpickles Mon 22-Jul-19 17:04:00

You sound exactly the kind of person the SKE benefits most. I tutor on an English SKE and often have people with journalism or media degrees completing it before starting ITT in English, increasingly I have secondary drama or humanities teachers wanting to move to teach English, and this year had a couple of primary teachers who want to move to secondary. It's a really good way to quickly up - skill and get familiar with the mark scheme and content. There are also part time options if you are doing it along side teaching.

ElizabethMainwaring Mon 22-Jul-19 18:04:04

Think about the marking. I love English but could not cope with the work load.

shithappens123 Tue 23-Jul-19 20:47:01

Hey everyone - as a secondary teacher I’ve wondered about retraining to teach primary. But when I hear the horror stories about unreasonable parents it puts me off, sorry OP is that one of the reasons you want to do secondary?

Mumsymumphy Tue 23-Jul-19 23:08:18

I find with parents it differs from class to class. Sometimes you can go a year with no hassle, others you have parents every morning complaining about the most mundane and unbelievable things. If I wrote a book no-one would believe me! It's one of the reasons I would consider leaving teaching altogether.

OP’s posts: |
ElizabethMainwaring Thu 25-Jul-19 14:05:37

I think that you should definitely go for it. I was a primary TA for years and did a primary Pgce, but I knew that I wanted to teach secondary as I'd grown tired of primary and needed a new challenge. I'd say do the ske. And, in my opinion, secondary kids aren't that different to primary, but the schools are. Good luck!

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